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6 June 2010
Dholavira, one of the largest cities of the Indus civilisation

Dholavira, a fortified city has recently been identified as one of the largest sites of the Harappan civilisation - otherwise known as the Indus civilisation. Spanning from 3,000 BCE to 1,500 BCE, the city relates the tale of the rise and fall of a civilisation that once flourished across, India, Pakistan and Afghanistan. First discovered by Jagat Pati Josh in the mid-1960s who then went on to work at the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), Dholavira is situated in Gujarat's Kutch district on the island of Khadir and is surrounded by the Great Rann of Kutch.
     Professor Ravindra Singh Bisht, former Joint Director General of the ASI, has led 13 field excavations and says, "Dholavira adds a new dimension to the personality of the Indus civilisation and its long cultural sequence gives us important information into the lifespan of a Harappan urban system. The sequence in its entirety is found at Dholavira, in the stratified debris in the castle, which witnessed the vicissitudes spread over 1,500 years."
     Dholavira is important for a number of reasons, as "Dholavira is characterised by monumental architecture, massive fortifications, the use of dressed stones, elaborate water management, and meticulous town-planning of a unique kind," says Michel Danino, independent researcher on the Harappan civilisation. Discoveries include a 3 metre long Indus inscription on wood, the longest ever found on the subcontinent, as well as a plethora of terracotta figurines, bronze tools and gold jewellery.
     Lying between the seasonal channels of the Mansar and Manhar, the water management system formed an integral part of the city and the ASI unearthed a series of check-dams. "The kind of efficient system the Harappans of Dholavira developed for conservation, harvesting and storage of water speaks eloquently about their advanced hydraulic engineering, given the state of technology in the third millennium BCE," said Bisht.

Source: Frontline Magazine (5 June 2010)

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